Last updated: 10.04.12

Online learning with social media 'could help foreign language students'

Foreign languages teachers could bolster the education of their pupils by using social media tools to create virtual learning environments.Writing in the Guardian, Transcription Global UK online marketing manager Ryan Gibson pointed out Facebook can be utilised by tutors, who could set up a page for their class to 'like', before updating it in languages other than English.Students could then use the networking site's in-built translating tools and utilise their own knowledge to gauge the accuracy of the translation, he suggested.Online learning of languages might also be supported by blogs or Tumblr accounts, the specialist declared.He said teachers could publish content in a foreign tongue and ask their pupils to do the same.Mr Gibson claimed students could write something and put it online "for the whole world to admire".Educators can demonstrate to youngsters why they love a particular language and inspire them to become passionate about learning it, he declared.Twitter can also support online learning, the expert noted, pointing out teachers could post tweets in foreign languages and see whether pupils can carry on a conversation in the medium without using English and while staying within the 140-character limit.Students may be asked to upload video blogs on to YouTube, during which they speak in an overseas tongue, Mr Gibson stated.He asserted these could be on a number of topics, such as the speakers' hobbies, thoughts, political opinions or viewpoints on current events.People who wish to put their video on the YouTube account should send it to the teacher first, the expert noted."There's no denying that enthusiasm for learning foreign languages amongst our schoolchildren is at an all time low, but if things are going to change, teachers and parents need to get smarter," he wrote in the recently launched an e-learning course for people wishing to learn a new tongue that enables students to utilise Skype to speak with teachers from overseas.